Every Monday, we’ll post fishing writer Jordan Rodriguez’s weekly report in the Playing Outdoors blog. His column appears three Tuesdays per month.
Boise River (Trout, Steelhead)
I’ll keep saying it as long as it’s true — there’s no better place to go catch some fish right now than the Boise River. Flows are picture-perfect (aside from a few wet, fallen leaves that might bump your hook for a false alarm) and the rainbow trout are plentiful and hungry. I made a quick stop at one of my favorite holes last week and landed seven fish in about an hour. There were several other anglers in the area, and most everyone seemed to be having some luck. Fly-fishing with bead-head nymphs, dragging spinners through deep holes or floating bait through the current are all effective methods. If you find some deep, inviting water, try throwing on a streamer pattern or minnow-imitating lure for big brown trout. I’m sure there are still a few steelhead swimming around, too. People tend to congregate near the stocking points, but those fish do disperse pretty quickly. Fish for them like you would in the Salmon or Clearwater. Jig-and-bobber rigs, plugs, roe and streamers are popular offerings. Steelhead permits are required in the Boise, but barbless hooks are not.
Getting there: Fish & Game stocks hatchery rainbows between Barber Park and the Glenwood Bridge.
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Salmon & Clearwater rivers (Steelhead)
If fighting the crowds in town isn’t your thing, I’m seeing lots of nice fish coming out of the Salmon River near Riggins, as well as the Clearwater. There are still plenty of anglers around, but you should be able to find a little more elbow room than you can during those crazy stocking days on the Boise. According to the Fish & Game website, catch rates averaged between 14 and 18 hours per fish on the Salmon last week, and between 6 and 12 hours on the Clearwater. My buddy Lucas recently went up and caught a monster out of the Salmon, proving once again that the rewards of steelheading can be rich if you are willing to put in the time and effort. Plugs, streamers, roe balls, brightly colored jigs and yarn are among the tried-and-true steelhead lures and baits. Fall steelhead season remains open through Dec. 31.
Getting there: Visit the Idaho Fish & Game website for a complete list of salmon and steelhead fish counts, season information, rules, and the latest harvest reports.
Lake Cascade (Trout, Perch)
The weather has been touch-and-go, but the changing conditions also seem to have triggered a better trout bite. I’ve heard reports of some really nice catches, mostly by bank anglers using worms and/or marshmallows with a slip sinker or bobber setup. Boat season is pretty much over, but a few anglers are still getting out and catching perch off rocky points on nicer days. Blue Heron is the only available boat ramp. If you know where to go, you can find some perch from shore, as well. I’m also hearing good things about the trout fishing at Horsethief Reservoir and Warm Lake. Bank fishing with bait seems to be the ticket. Make a trip up sooner rather than later — before too long, the lakes will be inaccessible for a few weeks as they enter the semi-frozen-but-not-yet-safe-for-ice-fishing stage.
Getting there: Head north on Idaho 55 to Cascade. From Cascade, turn east onto Warm Lake road to get to Horsethief and Warm Lake. For the latest info, call Tackle Tom’s at (208) 382-4367.
Lucky Peak Reservoir (Trout, Kokanee)
The water is super low right now, but anglers continue to have success at Lucky Peak and even Arrowrock. Most fish are being caught from shore using Power Bait, worms and marshmallows. It’s pretty straightforward fishing — just bring a lawn chair and wait for a bite! If that bores you, trout cruising the shallows often will take a spinner, Rapala or even a fly. There’s a bit of variety in Lucky Peak, too. Some folks are continuing to troll for kokanee salmon, and you might bump into a smallmouth bass, a perch or a big pikeminnow while trout fishing. With warm-water species slowing down, Lucky Peak is probably the best local bet for late-fall lake fishing.
Getting there: From Boise, take Warm Springs Avenue or Idaho 21 northeast to Lucky Peak. Continue past Lucky Peak to get to Arrowrock.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors @idahostatesman.com.